League of Legends' Summer Splits are well underway all around the world! The West is still riding high from their performances at the Mid Season Invitational, while Eastern teams are no doubt training to reclaim their glory. The MSI meta isn't totally gone, as champions like Ryze, Sylas and Jayce continue to be top tier picks, but some new champions are finding their way into professional play. These newer picks each have their own flair and a hint of solo queue tradition. This means they'll surely have a unique impact on the matches, both in-draft and in-game, so make sure to watch out for these picks as the splits progress!
First up on the list is Yuumi, the Magical Cat. As LoL's newest addition to the game her potential was unknown upon release. After receiving some pretty significant buffs her win rate rose and became a power house in solo queue. It turns out that she's quite a good pick in pro play too, as she's become one of the most contested supports in some regions. Interestingly enough, she isn't picked enough to show that though, as most of her presence is from bans.
For example, she is the most banned champion in the LCS, LCK and LEC. LPL teams ban her out frequently too, but not to the same extent the others do. The few times she does not get banned usually result in an early pick. There seems to be a general consensus that Yuumi is a powerful support, her win rate isn't insane. Across the five major regions it sits at an even 50%, indicating a fairly balanced champion. The high ban rate indicates that many teams simply don't have enough time playing with or against it.
Yuumi has a stigma of being an AFK champion. The common misconception is that all Yuumi has to do is attach to their ADC and press a couple of buttons once in a while. At the lowest skill level this may be true, but Yuumi has a potentially high skill ceiling. She can play lanes aggressively, poking with auto attacks and baiting skill shots before dodging with her W mobility. Her mobility really shines in team fights though. Here she can dash from person to person to give shields and heals while setting up a devastating Final Chapter (R). Moving through the split it will be crucial to watch how teams adapt to and utilize this new champion.
Lux always gets the best treatment. She gets a new skin every year and now even some time on the big stage. Seemingly out of nowhere, the Lady of Luminosity is now a shining support in the LoL meta. Back in the LCS Spring Split Finals, Bjergsen piloted Lux in the middle lane against Zoe, but her previous usage was low. Now many support players are picking her up from around the world.
To be fair, Lux isn't a high priority pick/ban like Yuumi is and it seems some regions favor her more than others. The LCS and LCK are playing her much more than the LEC or LPL. In the LCS she has a respectable 35% presence, and a whopping 62.5% in the LCK. For a pick that has struggled for so long this is nothing to scoff at. Lux prospers in the more controlled environments these regions these regions offer, as opposed to the hectic, bloody ones of the LPL and LEC. Still, the pick does fulfill multiple roles as a support that are highly valued.
As any player would know from their games, Lux's damage packs a punch. This can make a world of difference both in lane and in skirmishes. The biggest factors to her rise though are Aftershock and her shield. Her Prismatic Barrier (W) gives a hefty shield to all those hit by it and scales very well. This, paired with the safety of Aftershock resistances, make her hard to deal with for many champions. As a support she offers shielding and damage with a long range ultimate that allows her to have easier roams. She can also be a flex pick to the middle lane, something Damonte demonstrated in his game against 100 Thieves. Time will tell if Lux's popularity will grow among pro players, but is definitely a pick to watch.
Last but not least is Olaf. He's no stranger to professional meta games and has a history of being a strong pick at certain times. In the past he was known for his strong early game with high enough base damage to go a tank build and target the back line. Unless he was fed, he wasn't the biggest damage threat, but an obnoxious engage tool for the team. But now his play style has changed.
No longer do Olaf players build Cinderhulk and Righteous Glory every game. At the moment, junglers are buying Warrior Enchantments and Black Cleavers to decimate anyone who stands in their way. Sterak's Gauge and Guardian Angel are common too. There are still some tanky items thrown into the mix depending on the player and game, but generally the focus is on Attack Damage. This is because Olaf players are valuing the power he can bring to the early and mid game. They're not worried about the inevitable late game of metas past, but on snowballing and closing out the game.
That's most likely why he is the most successful in the fast-paced LPL. Here he reigns supreme with a 73.3% win rate and 93.9% presence. North American teams are finding some decent success with him too, having a 60% win rate, but the LEC and LCK struggle to make him work. These regions might find the tank builds better suited for them or simply need more practice on the pick. Like Lux, Olaf isn't finding total global success, but this may change as the split progresses.
Statistics courtesy of Games of Legends.
Featured image via Riot Games.